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Kim Jong-un has friends in the North. . . of Kerry, that is

 

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13 April 2013

 

North Kerry and North Korea are unlikely bedfellows – but in a tiny village 16 miles from Tralee you'll find the Irish epicentre of support for Kim Jong-un's defiant state.

 

In his home in the parish of Causeway (population 568) 22-year-old Antoin Fletcher co-ordinates activities for the Irish branch of the Korean Friends Association (KFA), which he says has 20 members with more joining all the time.

 

The KFA lists its objectives as "showing the reality of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to the world, defending its independence and socialist construction and to work for the peaceful unification of the Korean peninsula".

 

"We aim to tackle propaganda spouted by the Western imperialist media and give an accurate portrayal of the country," Antoin told the Irish Independent this week.

 

"The recent situation is a reaction to constant intimidation by the government of the US and their puppet state South Korea. Comrade Kim-Jong-un wants it to be known that the DPRK have the capabilities to fight a defensive war."

 

The former Causeway Comprehensive Secondary School pupil added: "I'm a Marxist-Leninist and always admired the DPRK for staying true to its beliefs. While other countries, such as Russia, watered down their communist structure in a self-revisionist way, Korea stood firm."

 

He said reports of human rights abuses in North Korea were "absolute myths and lies", adding: "If human rights abuse is the basis for sanctions and offensive action why don't the US invade Saudi Arabia?"

 

Though he has never visited the county, the unemployed activist told me: "There are no concentration camps, the people are fed, there is free education and healthcare."

 

Antoin, who last Sunday led a small KFA protest outside the US Embassy in Dublin, plans to visit Pyongyang in the next year.

 

The aspiring journalist added: "Ireland and the DPRK have so much in common. We're both victims of colonialism and we shouldn't forget that."

 

Graham Clifford

 

http://www.independe...s-29193553.html

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Best of luck to him but do most Irish people even realise what a victim of imperialism their own country is, never mind dprk?

 

These days, its difficult to know what most Irish people realise - very little I suspect.

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Guest Connolly

I knew someone who was in this friendship society. He was a strong Catholic and ended up having quite right wing views, but at the time he was a 'socialist'. He tried to get me to join years ago.

 

Its a good way to get to visit North Korea by joining the friendhship society, and you might get to do things there regular tourists may not. But they have some fucked up principles like: "Respect for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and its leaders". It should really read respect the hereditary King/Monarch.

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That kim jim un boyos nuts. Young and immature. Nobody should even contemplate nuclear warfare.

 

I'm sure Kim Jong Un doesn't do or say anything without the approval of the Politburo, and I'm very sure the Politburo has no desire for war of any sort. But, they are letting the enemy know that the Korean People are men and women, not sheep. The Anglo-American empire may herd most of humanity according to it will - but not the DPRK.

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I'm sure Kim Jong Un doesn't do or say anything without the approval of the Politburo, and I'm very sure the Politburo has no desire for war of any sort. But, they are letting the enemy know that the Korean People are men and women, not sheep. The Anglo-American empire may herd most of humanity according to it will - but not the DPRK.

 

How do you know that? I haven't seen too many people in DPRK show individual non-herd type behaviour. If anything it seems to me that the DPRK herd their citizens in a much more direct manner than their counterparts in western countries.

 

Despite that, the system of government in DPRK, including its leaders, deserves the same respect that the system of government in any country deserves. That doesn't mean that you would have to agree with the system of government, but to acknowledge that people of DPRK are a sovereign nation and do not need interference from global capitalism in telling them how to run, or change, their country.

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How do you know that? I haven't seen too many people in DPRK show individual non-herd type behaviour. If anything it seems to me that the DPRK herd their citizens in a much more direct manner than their counterparts in western countries.

 

Despite that, the system of government in DPRK, including its leaders, deserves the same respect that the system of government in any country deserves. That doesn't mean that you would have to agree with the system of government, but to acknowledge that people of DPRK are a sovereign nation and do not need interference from global capitalism in telling them how to run, or change, their country.

 

I know that the USA will not herd the citizens of the DPRK. I think that is obvious. As for the DPRK itself doing it, is it not possible to have a society that is post-individualist? Seeing the horrors that individualism brings the world to, it may be that people, as individuals, make the decision to collectivize their individuality. This would be a society that has transcended the superstition of the Dark Ages, but has also transcended the totalitarianism of Enlightenment individualism. I can't say for sure that the DPRK is such a society, but I have little doubt that many there have gone through this process, and willingly put the collective above their individual desires. You must admit that there is a great pleasure in being among a host of tens of thousands of armed and disciplined Workers, in Kim Il Sung Square, demonstrating your power for all the world to see - and for the imperialist enemy to fear. I think you will agree that the efforts we make in the West at demonstrations are somewhat lacking in comparison.

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Yes, the kind of society that you describe is certainly possible, but to get to such a post individual state, surely you would have to go through individualism and come out the other end rather than have it forced upon you by the collective state.

 

The mass displays in DPRK are only possible through the use of an authoritarian regime, rather than any choice that the North Korean people had to collectivise their consciousness. The masses in North Korea have rejeced nothing, they have had it rejected for them by those who control the state. Discipline when willingly subjected to the collective will is a great thing, discipline subjected to the will of a small elite is not socialism, but fascism.

 

I salute the anti-imperialist organisation of the DPRK, but a system that feels that it has to have speakers in every location blaring out regime propaganda doesn't sound like a country full of ubermenschen, capable of resisting herd instincts if the speakers were turned off.

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discipline subjected to the will of a small elite is not socialism, but fascism.

 

 

Fascism has a definite meaning. As Mussolini said, it is the merger of state and corporate power. There is no corporate power in the DPRK, hence there can be no Fascism.

 

Yes, clearly to be a post individualist society, you have to have gone through the stage of individualism, and that has never happened in the DPRK - except in a minority of the people. The DPRK went straight from Feudalism to Communism - as did all the Communist states, therefore these states have all been very strongly marked by the features of Feudalism. China has been introducing Capitalist individualism, since Deng took power, in a fairly controlled manner. It will be interesting to see what comes of that. Gorbachev tried to open the floodgates on individualism all at once, and the result was chaos and Mafia rule.

 

On the other hand, no nation that has fallen into individualism, which can be called the culture of death, has ever recovered from it. The West seems to be becoming more abject and hopeless with every passing year. Populations aging and the young being killed in their tens of millions. Massive parasitism on the Third World, resulting in massive death and destruction - serial Holocaust. What future could such a culture have? What hope could there be for it? The only hope seems to be the possibility that it will begin to collapse under the weight of its own corruption, and then receive the coup de grace from Third World Revolution - in a similar scenario to the collapse of the Roman empire. In such a case, the existence of states like the DPRK will be vital. That must be taken into account when critiquing the DPRK. Of course, the Empire is well aware of all this, hence the paranoid desire to destroy the DPRK.

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Could the ruling military elite not be considered as a form of corporate body?

 

I dont think the term corporation has any meaning without the existence of a market economy. Kant and Hegel spoke about the corporation as a forms of association, representing the providers of a certain commodity to the market. It's in that sense Mussolini was using the term.

 

I don't think you can use the word Fascism to describe any kind of hierarchical structure. Fascism is a function of market economies and the protection of private property. Its certainly possible to criticise the USSR and the DPRK, but not using the same categories as is used for the critique of market economies.

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I dont think the term corporation has any meaning without the existence of a market economy. Kant and Hegel spoke about the corporation as a forms of association, representing the providers of a certain commodity to the market. It's in that sense Mussolini was using the term.

 

I don't think you can use the word Fascism to describe any kind of hierarchical structure. Fascism is a function of market economies and the protection of private property. Its certainly possible to criticise the USSR and the DPRK, but not using the same categories as is used for the critique of market economies.

 

But this comes back to the same argument about the nature of the USSR and the DPRK that we had before. The alienation of the worker from the means of production, through an authoritarian state, creates or perpetuates an elite class, whether that is the bureaucrat of the USSR or the military of the DPRK. It is of course different from the elite class that arises under capitalism, but there are similarities, particularly in the way that true individualism, (ie, non-herd like behaviour) is not encouraged/permitted. Anything that stands in the way of that class is crushed with force (or in liberal democracies, crushed by something perhaps worse, the likes of the media and other forms of social control (or failing that, by force)

 

The authoritarian nature of the state is a feature that such regimes share with fascism, regardless of how Mussolini defined the term. While perhaps historically inaccurate, it is this definition, ie the authoritarian regime, that is most closely associated with fascism in popular language.

 

This similarity between fascism and authoritarian socialism is a major problem when trying to build a socialism of real individuals, as people see no point in replacing one regime that treats them as a herd with another. Indeed, the similarities in this regard between fascist and communist states only helps perpetuate the myth that so-called democracy represents the only workable alternative as somewhere in the middle of these two authoritarian extremes.

 

Unfortunately I don't see the DPRK offering any alternative to this, although of course I accept that the DPRK has a particular role to play in challenging the otherwise omnipresent capitalist and imperialist agenda.

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I've no problem with saying that the DPRK imposes strict discipline on its citizens. But, really, it is that discipline that holds the Anglo-Saxon imperialists at bay, not nuclear weapons. The risk of relaxing that discipline is a US invasion - as we saw in Libya, where a huge amount of individual freedom was the norm. Unfortunately, the Anglo-Saxons and their French lapdogs were able to use this freedom to plant their agents and destroy the country. I think that the DPRK will maintain a high level of social discipline for as long as the imperialist threat remains. I couldn't criticize them for that. Having said that, I think we should not make the mistake of thinking that people in the DPRK are greatly different to ourselves. We should not think that they are unaware of their situation, or that they are blindly following orders. I don't think this has ever been the situation in any Communist country.

 

I'm quite sure that many DPRK workers regard themselves as proud soldiers, fighting for a cause. The cause of Korea and the cause of Socialism. How many South Korean workers can regard themselves as anything but labour-for-sale to the highest bidder?

 

There is a tendency these days to equate any form of discipline to Fascism, as if discipline was the primary feature of Fascism - or as if discipline was a bad thing. If we are to seriously critique Socialist regimes, a new vocabulary is needed. Nor is "authoritarian" any better, as this term comes from the bourgeois idea that every individual should be able to do his own thing. Is "autonomy" the opposite of "authoritarian?" If so, then this term is also based on bourgeois fantasies, i.e. cogito ergo sum. Only the psychotic is in any way autonomous.

 

Its no accident that the bourgeois media attempts to equate Communism with Fascism, on the basis that individual desire is not king in either system. I don't think Communists should play that game. As Lenin said, Communism requires iron discipline.

 

The model we like to think of is the Zapatistas, but, from what I have read, there seems to be a very high level of discipline in that society also. This discipline is made less obvious by the fact that it is so strongly grounded in tribal tradition and custom. But then, the discipline we see in the DPRK may also be fully grounded in tradition - Korean tradition. The Western media never analyses the DPRK relative to Korean traditions and norms, but according to Anglo-Saxon Protestant traditions and norms. Needless to say, every country will find its own forms of Communism. What Irish Communism will look like in practice we can't really say. I dont believe it will come about by convincing the majority of Irish people of the merits of Communism over imperialist capitalism. I think it will come about as a way to survive. The form Irish Communism takes will probably depend on how catastrophic the collapse of capitalism is, rather than anything else. That said, I would greatly prefer if it did come about through the whole Irish people becoming ubermenschen, who have genuinely transcended superstition and bourgeois individualism, and we should work on that basis - regardless of how unrealistic it may be.

 

At the end of the day, vis-a-vie the DPRK, Cuba, Venezuela etc., as Trotsky put it, we have to take sides - regardless of the flaws and shortcomings of those we side with.

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